Just Sayin

comments: 88


Yesterday, I got to cook. It was great.


When I get busy, the first thing to go is cooking. I can't seem to deal. And it's not so much the actual cooking part that I find challenging, it's the deciding what to make, the figuring out what we need, the getting the stuff at the store, ETC. Jeeeeeeesh. All that is really not — if I can be perfectly honest about it — what I like about cooking. (Which is strange, because I'm just sitting here realizing that all that is actually my favorite part of crafting.) But when it comes to cooking, if someone else decided what I would make every day and then brought me the stuff to make it, I would be very pleased and would probably cook cool stuff every single night. 


But I get overwhelmed by the planning part, or just the relentlessness of the planning part. Every day: Something. I like to have a small, curated collection of really good cookbooks, and then I cook from them over and over again. Too many and I feel like I'm going to have an indecision freak-out, and decide, instead, to order a cheese pizza. I can't keep recipes in my head; there is not ONE single thing I know how to make without a recipe. I can't think of one. I read cookbooks in bed and turn the corners of pages down to try to help me figure out what to make when it's time, lest I start to twitch (upon opening a cookbook with smooth, un-turned pages). But once I've chosen something, and once the ingredients are on my kitchen counter, I am, dare I say it, almost perfectly happy (call Ripley's).


Eeeeeenyway. You get what I mean. Last night it was Ina's Chicken Stew and Biscuits. I've made this before and it is yuuuuuuuummy. (I can't find the post. Note to self: Time to figure out how to put a search feature on the blog.) I didn't have enough chicken breasts, so I used some of our weeny potatoes.


Pardon the lighting. Heading into fall/winter, we now have a selection of random kitchen lighting — two little counter lamps and the bulb-light over the stove — to contend with on the blog until spring. I think it looks kind of pretty, all rosy and such.


I got a set of eight different-sized biscuit cutters the other day. (See, and then I knew what to make — otherwise, no clue.) I like biscuit dough. It's sort of soft and floury and heavy. It always reminds me of my grandma's upper arm. I know that's weird, but it does. Always makes me miss her.


Ta-dah! Dottie biscuits and chicken stew! She did it. After all that talk.


Off to sketch some ideas for new pot-holders.



Im going to try this without the chicken, my husband is vegetarian so I will just use vegetable stock instead of chicken. Great recipe.

I know *exactly* how you feel. My least favorite part is deciding what to make and figuring out what needs to be bought, when I need to start cooking, etc. And I can't make anything without a cookbook either (do you also like instructions when you sew/craft? or do you wing it? I LOVE instructions!). And it *is* so very relentless. Blech. But the cooking part I like as well. Your dish looks great!

This looks scrumptiously delicious!

Can't wait to see the potholders! ;0)

Laurie Anne x

That looks good. I love Ina.

Wow, that sounds exactly like me. I realized that part of my problem is that I was going to a huge, very busy store...there were so many people and so much going on that it was like sensory overload for me. I dreaded it every time. So I started going to a smaller, less busy store, and what a huge difference it makes! Shopping there is actually relaxing! I don't have to fight to get through the aisles, and I don't have to worry about getting run over in the parking lot because everyone's in such a big hurry, they'd rather run you over than take 2 seconds longer to wait! Plus they have better sales.

Your dinner looks yummy...now I have to go look at my crockpot cookbooks...

That looks so good!
I am totally making that. Sometime this weekend.

And I know exactly what you mean by the sameness of cooking.
I like it when I am trying something new or having people over. But having to make a meal or two or three every day?!

You are not alone. This is EXACTLY how I feel. Well all but the grandma's-arm thing. Anywho, other than that, everything gets a big ditto mark from me!

After seeing the picture in your book with the heart-biscuits, I'd been waiting for the right day to make it. Thundering and rainy, today is that day.

I am a planner, converted after this week. I set out to plan each meal so that we wouldn't eat out as often as we have been. It has saved my brain, and kept at bay the "Oh crap, dinner should be in 15 minutes and nothing's thawed. The brainlessness of knowing has been a help.

That looks so delicious!! And I'm totally with you on disliking the planning part of cooking. I don't mind the chopping and stirring. Putting together my weekly menu is so hard!

I have just the blog to solve your problem: http://dinnerdujour.org. My co-blogger and I post a complete dinner menu every day, so there's loads of ready-made meals and inspiration to get you into the kitchen and cooking something tasty and in season. Come by and have a look, I hope it helps you and some of your other readers who feel the same way!

Yum... Genius to make all those different sized biscuits. They are way cute!
Perhaps a little homemade roulette wheel of pre-selected dinner decisions is in order? It would take care of the deciding part, at least ;)

i loved the photos of the lovely clover! with cooking, if you make the same recipes frequently you can totally cook without a cook book! you have the techniques and you know what makes a stew, so just go for it! experimenting in the kitchen makes it even more fun. try to use what's in the cupboards and the fridge for dinner one night.

i love to read cook books too, but i just think of them as suggestions, not rules. recipes are a joining of a technique and a thoughtful way of putting flavors together.
have fun!

Lol...really I am laughing beacuse making biscuits reminds me of my Grandma's jiggly upper arms too.

and-I too have dinner decision phobia!

That looks yummy! I wrote just this week about how there is something special about making biscuits:

That's a good amount of butter there in the first picture! Then again, it is Ina... :)

Oh that looks so good!!! Yum :) I agree, when I'm busy in the studio, I tend to forget about dinner until my husband walks through the door and asks what's for dinner lol Happens more often than he likes!

Is thiw the same chicken stew and biscuits recipe that there is a photo of in your book? I love that photo!

I have a stack of notecards that have my family's favorite meals on them. Before we go to the store we go through the stack and each person picks at least one card (there are 5 in our family). On the back there is a list of ingredients and the cookbook and page # where the recipe is. I take the cards to the store to get the ingredients I need. When I get home I put the cards in a clip on the fridge. These have made it so much easier for us to plan dinner:)

Sharon Stanley says: October 16, 2009 at 01:23 PM

It is a comfort indeed to know someone else struggles with "what to cook" syndrome. My problem, is if I decide, I have to then sit and think who eats what...impossible for all 4 of us to sit and eat one meal...my fault probably...so I won't think about that...I will think about looking forward to potholders! yea!!

What a fantastic way to do the dots, all different sizes. I'm definitely going to do that. It looks delicious.

That looks so good!

Ina's biscuits are amazing! I'll have to try this recipe.

OMG...how cute it that! Love the different size biscuits...:) Looks very, very yummy. Is that a table runner, placemat, or hotpad underneath your bowl? Nice!

YUM!! ...just sayin

your pictures are amazing, what type of camera do you use? keep up the gorgeous shots!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com